Making the round in babywearing circles is the story of Stacy Ehrisman-Mickle. A self-employed attorney who is doing her thing and established her own firm. She had a beautiful baby and expected to be able to take maternity leave. Little did she know, the judge in the case would refuse to move a hearing that was previously scheduled during her maternity leave. What did Stacy do? The thing that we all as moms have to do sometimes, make it work!
She called her doctor to make sure it was safe. Her daughter’s pediatrician said that she should take her newborn in a carrier (Wooohooo… way to go doc) to keep her close and safe. Stacy’s maternity leave was but a SHORT 6 weeks and the judge refused to reschedule that hearing. She showed up with her baby and the judge chastised her when her NEWBORN cried. I don’t know about yall, but I ALWAYS have control of when my newborns cry. Ugh. Then, he proceeds to further chastise this working parent because she dared to bring her daughter to where she could be exposed to so many germs. The judge said he was appalled. Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know that his honor was also a pediatrician.
Perhaps you have noticed that today, I have a more…. uhm… ragey tone. That is because I was absolutely appalled at the judge’s behavior! As an attorney, I love that I get to stay home with my baby. Working part time allows me the time to be the hands-on WAHM that I want to be as well as occasionally go into court and maintain my professional identity.
I took three months of maternity leave. There was one attorney that accidently scheduled a hearing. When I couldn’t get a hold of him, I called the court and explained that I was on maternity leave. The court immediately dropped the hearing. Another attorney refused to agree to my Motion for Continuance because of my maternity leave. When I went before the judge, it was not me who was chastised. Infact, I have a free piece of career advice for attorneys — don’t refuse extensions and continuances when the reason for them is maternity leave. It was not pretty. I almost felt bad for the other guy. Almost.
I have also worn my baby in open court. Once when I had to attend a criminal matter where I represented the client in a tangential civil matter and once on my own speeding tickets (yes, plural. Judge away).
I share these stories for a few reasons:
1. To give context to my rage. I am really upset about how this fellow woman, babywearer, attorney was treated.
2. Because there are judges out there that are doing it right, being supportive of working professionals and I wanted you to know that they exist. I was happy to hear that she did file a complaint against this judge. In these pictures, the bailiff even fixed her bow when she fell asleep!
3.Because I want to applaud a fellow babywearing-attorney. You go, Girl. Wear that baby!! Go to court! Wear that baby while you work. It can be done. Thank you for helping move working moms forward. Lean in, indeed. Thank you. If that judge wanted you in court, FOUR WEEKS after giving birth, you did incredibly. But please don’t let this experience discourage you. I’m not saying it will be easy. You WILL get strange looks, but the hope is that with more exposure, there will be a few less looks, less jerk judges. Normalize the working involved parent! Thank you!!!
Babywearing has saved me more than once. My clients generally love meeting Baby P on my back. I sometimes have to run some where for a half hour and childcare is impractical. So, she goes with me, my favorite tiny legal accessory. Even if it is just at our computer, sleeping as she is right now.